In Maryland, when a plaintiff sues a defendant for causing an auto accident, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof at trial. This means that the plaintiff bears the initial burden of providing evidence at trial that the collision was the defendant’s fault, and the plaintiff must convince the jury of this.
In a criminal case, the government needs to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in an auto accident case, the plaintiff only needs to show the defendant’s fault “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant was at fault. In a single word, the plaintiff must show that the collision was “probably” the defendant’s fault.
This is a much lower burden to meet than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For example, if the defendant runs a red light and hits your car, but claims that you ran the red light, then having a single independent witness to support you will likely win the case for you. Furthermore, even if the case is just your word against the defendant’s, if your version of events makes more sense or you otherwise are more believable to the jury, then under the laws of Maryland the jury should rule in your favor. (Of course, having a supporting witness is better!)
If you have questions about whether you’ll be able to successfully prove your auto accident case in court, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.